Home Selling in Cornish>Question Details

Kateplusthree, Both Buyer and Seller in Charlotte, NC

Was this agent unprofessional?

Asked by Kateplusthree, Charlotte, NC Tue Jun 1, 2010

In 2002, we bought our house using an agentthat represented both the buyer (us) and the seller. We knew there would be a conflict here - but she is a family friend and its a small town. Everyone in town (of 1600 people) uses this woman.

When we closed, we didn't know enough to ask for a final walk through (stupis us!) and one was never offered. We knew there was some trash left - because the realyor suggested that the seller set money aside for the clean up cost. We (the fools we are) refused, and let her word that shewould pay for the trash removal be good enough.

The seller bolted as soon as the papers were signed, and refused to pay for the trash removal. The realor ended up paying (at our request) the $300 bill to have the trash pile removed.

But here's the thing....we were never told just how bad it was. There was food in the fridge and freezer when we moved in. Furniture was left. There were bags of trash in the living room, and toliteries left in teh bathroom.

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I understand your concern and it's absolutely your choice on who to use in the future.

Still--honestly--I'm having a difficult time getting to the point of defining that behavior as unprofessional.

Your agent should have strongly urged you to have a final walk through. The fact that she didn't is a point of concern. If we're keeping score, that's at least 1 point in the direction of "unprofessional."

But you were aware that some trash had been left behind and the Realtor even suggested that the seller set some money aside for the clean-up cost. That was the right thing to do to protect you. You declined, trusting the seller to do it. If we're keeping score, the Realtor's suggestion that the seller escrow some clean-up money is perhaps 1 point in the direction of "professional."

So the seller ran off and didn't handle the trash removal. You asked the Realtor to handle it (remember--she'd provided an earlier, better way to handle it, through escrow), and she did, paying for the trash removal out of her own pocket. That's perhaps 1 more point in the direction of "professional."

However, once you got in there, you discovered that the clean-up was incomplete. The Realtor apparently had had some of the work done, but not to your satisfaction. And, frankly, it doesn't sound like it'd be to most people's satisfaction. If she'd committed to doing it, then she should have done it properly. That's 1 point in the direction of "unprofessional."

I agree: The situation could have been handled better. And, as I said above, it's your choice on who you choose to help you sell the property.

There are really two questions involved here. The first is whether this agent will do a good job for you. She knows the area; she's a power in the area. That counts for a lot. Still, you say that you don't think she's the best you could get. So, determine--as objectively as possible--where she does rank as far as agents who "control" that market and could help you sell your home.

The second question is: Even if she is objectively the best agent, can you accept her earlier dealings in the prior transaction? Can you look past them, from a personal level? And there's no right or wrong answer here. I'm not suggesting you ignore how the previous transaction was handled. If you feel that that'd be a major impediment, then even if she is objectively the best, you might well be better off choosing someone else.

So, unfortunately, I'm not offering a clear-cut "yes, use her again" or "no, don't use her." But I hope I've raised some issues for you to consider as you make that decision.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
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This agent did all this and you have to ask whether you should use her again?!?!

The problem with this agent sounds like she has gotten comfortable being the only act in town. Time for someone else to step up.

By the way, this agent wasn't in a bind acting on both sides contrary to what your husband believes. She got both sides of the commission for heavens sake!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
The problem is the agent did not look out for your best interest. As a sellers agent she was good, as a buyers agent she failed. By all means you should have had a walkthrough and could have refused to sign until the house was cleaned. At very least the agent should have walked through the house knowing it was like this and warned you.

At this point it is an old wound, she didnt look out for you once i wouldnt give her a second chance. No matter what anyone says, an agent cant represent two people, they can however be fair and do what is right and what is ethical.

To find a new agent you should contatc other leading realtors in the area, look in your local paper, search Trulia or ask others if they have any referals. Before signing meet with them, ask them what they can offer, what their costs are and let them know what you expect out of tehm as your agent.

Good luck with your sale.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 9, 2010
Kate+3 This is a verrrrry old wound! So much for 'forgive and forget.' Just teasing you. I understand that you were rightfully upset.

If you are planning to sell your home now, then you should interview at least 3 agents, review the CMA's and marketing plans, ask for referrals and then pick up the phone and speak with these people...and then choose wisely. I also read where a Realtor suggested that you list the property for only 90 days. After the 90 day period, you can opt to extend the listing or not based on your experience.
Please read Rockinblu's blog about choosing an agent for more suggestions:

http://www.trulia.com/blog/rockinblu/2008/12/i_ve_got_my_fin…
Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 4, 2010
Its hard to say it better than Don but something I have found is you can't always predict people's behavior and agents are often victims of that unpredictability as much as the next guy.
Unfortunately, we are often the ones left responsible for other's bad behavior.

Other than the seller's inexcusable leaving of a huge mess, the only other wrong I see here is what Don already pointed out, the fact that a walkthrough was not insisted upon by the agent. Its possible she knew what shape the house was and therefore wanted to avoid having you see it. That would definitely be a wrong and if I even thought that an agent knew about such a mess and knowingly deceived me, that would be all she wrote.
But as Don said (again) she DID suggest that the seller set money aside and you made the choice not to.

If I was going to guess, this was one of those scenarios where an agent was acting as a dual agent and got caught in an uncomfortable situation and perhaps handled it not as well as she could have, but made some effort to remedy it.

Since you live in a small town, have you thought about maybe sitting down with this agent and having a heart to heart talk with her about what happened? Her reaction may make the decision for you. At the very least it should clear the air so you can move on with your lives.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
It sounds as if the realtor used good judgement in paying $300 for trash removal. Generally speaking, one would think that if there were other unwanted materials in the home, they would have found there way onto this trash pile.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
It sounds as if the realtor used good judgement in paying $300 for trash removal. Generally speaking, one would think that if there were other unwanted materials in the home, they would have found there way onto this trash pile.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
So, Kateplusthree, there must be something else behind this question about events that occurred eight years ago ... what is it?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
Kateplusthree,

If you don't think she's the "best" you could get, the blog below might help you find someone better.

http://www.trulia.com/blog/rockinblu/2008/12/i_ve_got_my_fin…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
You should use an agent that is representing you only. I would suggest someone new - doesn't hurt to shop around to get a feel for who you think you are most comfortable working with.

These folks are in Wilmington but they are VERY reputable (great nationwide rep) and can probably recommend someone to you in your area.

Sandy and Dick Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U
5041 New Centre Drive, Suite 108
Wilmington, NC 28403
Sandy's cell: 910-352-2000
Office: 910-791-5775
Toll Free: 1-877-442-8928
Dick's cell: 910-431-2572
Fax: 910-791-5776
Email: rbeals2@ec.rr.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
But here's the thing....we were never told just how bad it was. There was food in the fridge and freezer when we moved in. Furniture was left. There were bags of trash in the living room, and toliteries left in teh bathroom. The barn was full of her stuff. It took us 2-3 years to finaly clean out - sell, donate, trash - all the stuff she left.

I feel angry and betrayed. I dodn't want to use this agent again because I doubt her professionalism. My hsband says she was in a bind because she was represeenting boh the buyer and the seller. I think she was unprofessional and wanted to save her sale at the expense of us having to cleanout this woman's crap. If I had had a walk through, I never would have signed!

I need an unbiased opinion. Was her behavior unprofesional and should we use her to sel our home? She does know the market here (very well), but I don't think she's the "best" we could get. How do I find another realtor, and how do I know (s)he is quality??
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
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